Eric Mikoleit and two Employment First ambassadors from Lakeland Union High School, Peter and Dakota, presented to the Lac du Flambeau tribal council this week about increasing employment outcomes for youth with disabilities. WI Employment First Partners receive small grants from the Board to engage with their local communities to increase integrated employment opportunities.

Employment First (EF) has been an active national movement for over a decade. EF works for the development of policy and practice that makes integrated employment the number one priority for all individuals with disabilities. EF advocates for states to adopt formal laws and policies that result in a significant increase in the number of individuals with disabilities in integrated employment. Currently 46 states are active in the EF movement and 32 have taken formal, statewide policy action.

EF is not just a philosophy, it is results focused. EF strives to achieve the following priorities in every state:

  • Measurable increases in employment within the general workforce, earning minimum wage or higher with benefits.
  • Greater opportunities to pursue self-employment and the development of microenterprises.
  • Employment as the first and preferred option when exploring goals and a life path.
  • Employment within the general workforce, regardless of the severity of disability and assistance required.
  • Work experiences that are typical of other teenagers and young adults.
  • Employers actively recruiting, valuing, and including people with disabilities as an integral part of their workforce.
  • Increased incomes, financial assets, and economic wealth.
  • Greater opportunities to advance in careers, by recognizing and taking full advantage of individual strengths and talents.
  • Sufficient funding so that quality services and supports are available as needed for longterm employment success.
  • Re-evaluating, on a regular basis, people’s decisions not to work and providing services for them to learn about integrated employment safely and with support.

We are already on the path to achieve these outcomes in many communities throughout Wisconsin. Let’s keep the momentum going!
See for more information.